Apr. 15 – (Num. 21-22) In these two chapters two different animals were involved.  One caused death while the other prevented death.  God can use anything or anyone to make His will known.  I kind of envy the donkey in that she had eyes to see the angel.  “Lord may my eyes be as good as Balaam’s donkey.”  The people were complaining again, and death resulted.  Let’s choose this day to speak thankfulness all day. Selah 

Apr. 16 – (Num. 23-25) As I read these chapters, I think of the verse from Isa. 54:17 - “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”  Balak tried to curse a people that God had blessed.  Let’s go a step further. What are we doing when we gossip about God’s people?  No, it’s not quite the same but let’s take heart that all God has for us…He will do. When we criticize or gossip about others, it may be doing the same as a kind of curse.   

Apr. 17 – (Num. 26-27) The Israelites were about to enter the promised land.  There are steps to be taken that only God can direct.  A census was taken.  All of the tribes were counted. None but Moses, Joshua and Caleb are left from the original group. Joshua is appointed to succeed Moses.  We see order in God’s ways.  Many times, after the fact.  I am reminded yet again that our lives are ordered by the Lord.  Our peace and strength come from trusting God for that order, whether we see it or not.   

Apr. 18 – (Num. 28 – 29) Moses is still giving instructions to the Israelites from God. He will until God takes him to his reward.  These chapters are final instructions on offerings to the Lord. First among the final instructions are laws about public sacrifices.  The regulations make several points: 1. They show the importance of the sacrificial system in Israel.  These sacrifices must be offered daily on behalf of the whole nation.  3. They assure Joshua that the nation will become prosperous enough to provide for this expensive worship. 3. They show the importance of the Sabbath.  Every seventh day is a Sabbath and the number of sacrifices doubles on those days.  The seventh month is marked by a huge number of extra sacrifices. Especially during the Feast of Booths.  That feast is clearly the biggest celebration of the year.   

                DID YOU KNOW?  During the Feast of the Booths, the Israelites were to live in temporary dwellings (“booths”) as a reminder of their life in the wilderness.   The large number of sacrifices offered during the eight days shows the importance of this feast.  The Feast of Booths was celebrated in October., at the end of the agricultural year.  It was also a time to pray for plenty of rain in the next year.  In Israel, rain is expected only between October and April.  

Apr. 19 – (Num. 30-31) Have you ever made a vow? I don’t mean in marriage or maybe even to testify.  I mean in your house or maybe only in your mind. Maybe you called it a prayer: “God if you prevent X, then I will do (or won’t do) Y.”  I took a class that discussed the damage we allow when we make inner vows.  There is a solution to these inner vows in the form of repentance and placing Truth over that vow we made.  Lest you think you never did that let’s name a few common ones as examples.  “I will never let people into my life at that level again because of the pain I have experienced.”  I will always keep busy, so I don’t have to sink to that level again.”  “I will never be poor.”  “I will never trust affluent people.”  God doesn’t want us to limit ourselves because of past pain.  He wants us to live in His freedom alone. 

Apr.20 – (Num. 32-33) Chapter 33 is Moses’ account of their journey in stages from Egypt to Canaan.  This is the only chapter that specifically from Moses. Most of the rest of Numbers is to have been given to Moses by God.  This chapter then is seen as Moses’ testimony of what God has done for Israel during his lifetime.  Do you have your testimony written down?  When we moved last year, I tried to write down all the God-given miracles in that move while thanking Him each in moment.  Some contained waiting and still knowing He was working for our good and His Glory.  I can’t tell you what that has done for my faith.  We are this year moving my in-laws to Columbus, so we can help care for them.  Just recently, I was reminded that I should be writing down this testimony as well and all the God-given miracles He is providing yet again for our good and His glory. Are you going through a difficult or challenging time?  Try writing down your journey, thanking Him for the answers you like and for the ones you don’t like or are waiting for.  Selah 

Apr. 21 – (Num. 34-36) Chapter 34 describes the borders of the Promised Land God promised Israel. In general terms, Canaan consisted of the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River plus modern Lebanon and a portion of modern Syria.  God even allocated who would divide the land. They were chiefs of the 10 tribes who would settle west of the Jordan.  No chiefs of Reuben and Gad are listed because they were settling east of the Jordan.

                Chapter 35 explains how to keep Canaan holy. It was holy because God dwelt there. He is the Holy One and sin and death are in absolute opposition to Him.  If the land is made unclean by violent death, atonement must be made.  Otherwise the Lord would not protect the land, and Israel would be exiled.  The cities of refuge and the laws associated with them showed how cases of homicide were to be handled.  The Israelite legal system involved the injured person seeking justice in court.  A man slayer was someone who killed any person without intent.  The man slayer was protected from the victim’s angry relatives.  He could flee to one of the cities of refuge.  There, the judges decided whether the killer deserved to be executed for his crime.  The guidelines for those decisions are stated in 35:16-34.  Do we see any of these descriptions in our justice system today?

                Chapter 36 has very interesting instructions.  The jubilee occurred every 50 years.  During that time, land that had been sold was to return to its original owner (Lev. 25:10-28). This did not apply to land transferred through marriage.  Normally when men married, there was no transfer of land; it stayed within the man’s own tribe.  But if a land-owning daughter married, the land would be transferred to her husband’s family and tribe.  To prevent tribal land being lost through intermarriage, Moses rules that Zelophehad’s daughters (Num. 27:1-11) must marry men from their own tribe (36:6).  In this way tribal lands would be preserved.  This insistence that everyone… should hold on to this own inheritance can be seen as a promise that the tribes will always live in their God-given land (Gen. 17:8).